HTC’s VIVE has now revealed that it played a pivotal role in granting a Make-A-Wish Foundation wish that earned the foundation’s Georgia division the organization’s Most Innovative Wish of the Year award, following the heartwarming story of efforts to virtually send seven-year-old Zayden Wright to Saturn. For those who may not already be aware, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is an organization that helps bring dreams to reality for children who suffer from life-threatening medical conditions. In the case of Zayden Wright, the young boy was born with a rare heart condition, resulting in 38 echocardiograms, six heart cauterizations, and no fewer than four open heart surgeries. His wish, as it turns out, was to visit Saturn. That’s an experience he described to his parents and the Make-A-Wish Foundation in astounding detail but which is ultimately not possible in the real world. However, the amount of detail he used to describe his wish ultimately allowed TRICK 3D – a studio dedicated to creating immersive content – in conjunction with VIVE and several volunteers, to recreate his imagined space itinerary in virtual reality, complete with the little green aliens dreamed up by Zayden.
TRICK 3D co-founder, Chad Eikhoff, says that denying the request to help in the effort was never an option. According to Eikhoff, this type of endeavor and experience is the inherent purpose of the technology. The only questions involved, he continues, were how the company could make the experience as real as possible, while still adhering to what 7-year-old Zayden expected. The company started by contacting VIVE for the company’s VR hardware, with the headset being referred to as astronaut goggles as part of the overall experience being crafted. With the hardware sorted out, the company then turned to recreating the experience in the digital world, including the red spaceship Zayden had imagined the journey taking place in. Aside from the use of those astronaut goggles and the creation of the virtual side of the Saturn Mission, TRICK 3D made use of real-world props and created scenarios in order to augment the experience. Zayden wore a stylized astronaut costume, was greeted by a formation of 50 airmen at Dobbins Air Force Base, and virtually lifted off on May 1st alongside NASA astronaut LeRoy Chiao.
TRICK 3D has, of course, released a video revealing highlights from its work with Make-A-Wish foundation and other partners that took part in making Zayden Wright’s wish come true. That has been included below and is well worth a watch for anybody interested in catching a glimpse of the experience given to Zayden.